Flight Lieutenant Ernest Irfon Lee (31397) RAF - Mention in Despatches rec contained in Air 2/8775. LG 1 Oct 46. Also MiD 1/1/1943
"Flight Lieutenant Lee was captured by the Japanese in Malaya, in 1942. From there he was transferred to the Kuching prisoner of war camp, where he remained till rescued by the Australians in September, 1945. Following the removal to hospital of the previous senior Royal Air Force officer in his camp, Flight Lieutenant Lee assumed the responsibilities of senior officer. He immediately set about compiling a careful record of names, details, dates of death, illness in respect of all Royal Air Force personnel. Although threatened and forbidden to continue this work and subjected to checks and searches by the Japanese, Flight Lieutenant Lee, despite the removal of his writing materials persistently kept and continued his records which were very valuable for obtaining information for the Services or the next of kin. By his interest and care for the men, he set a fine example. In addition, Flight Lieutenant Lee was in charge of messing from 1st January, 1944. In this capacity he showed great resource and tact and contributed very largely to maintaining health and morale in the camp."
Re: Ernest Irfon LEE*.
As previously stated, Lee maintained a diary for most of his incarceration. His diaries (in their entirety), were published in the following book:
Kill the Prisoners!
Mona Vale (NSW):Author, 1997.
Chapter One: 1942 Pages 1-66.
Chapter Two: Sandakan 1942-1943 Pages 67-110.
Chapter Three: Ballale Island 1943 Pages 111-118.
Chapter Four: SUEZ MARU 1943 Pages 119-139.
Chapter Five: 1944 Pages 140-184.
Chapter Six: Death Marches Pages 185-231.
Chapter Seven: Kuching Pages 232-285.
Chapter Eight: Sandakan - after Destruction of the Camp Pages 286-298.
Chapter Nine: Honour Rolls Pages 299-385 (Compiled by Don Wall):
Sandakan Jesselton Party - R.A. and R.A.F.
Labuan ex Sandakan and Kuching.
Notes and References Page 386.
Index: Pages 387-392.
Not a pleasant read. Lee keeps his opinions of his captors, and their antics, to himself; " There was no question of either offending or not offending the Japanese (if the diaries were discovered), - the facts - the malnutrition, starvation diets, sickness, beatings and deaths spoke for themselves."
Here is the jacket blurb on Lee:
PETER LEE was commissioned in the R.A.F. just before the outbreak of World War II in 1939 and his first posting was the Air Base at Seletar, Singapore. Following war service on the Malayan Peninsula, he was appointed to the South West Pacific Command in Java, three weeks before Singapore fell on 15 February 1942; taken prisoner at Tusik Malaja in March of that year, he and his comrades were held in six other Far East POW Camps in Java, Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak, before being released by the 9th Australian Division in Kuching in August 1945. After the War. he spent four years at London University reading Economics, before serving in the British Overseas Civil Service in East Africa and Hong Kong. He retired in 1985.
Peter Lee was twice Mentioned in Despatches for war services,and was awarded the C.B.E. in 1982 for his work in Hong Kong. (See: rear cover).
* The use of the name, "Peter Lee":
NX36620 Donald Wall MID, AM., ex-2/20th Australian Infantry Battalion, A.I.F., ex-POW, passed away on 15 November, 2004
Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 5th September 2023 at 02:43.